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Its Characteristics and Uses 



fTpHAT nature in its profusion of tree creation has 
I given humanity a species of wood best— even pre- 
eminently—fitted to every purpose man-created 
necessity may call for, is a verity scarcely to be ques- 
tioned. To ascertain the wood best adapted to a specific 
purpose is, however, not always an easy matter, exhaus- 

the Mississippi River into eastern Arkansas, western 
Tennessee, Kentucky, and southern Missouri. As 
stated, however, the manufacturers of cypress were 
the first lumber operatives confronted with the neces- 
sity of studying the characteristics of the wood, the 
problems of its manufacture and care, and the dis- 


tive experimentation often being required to determine 
just what wood possesses the perculiar qualities requi- 
site to the occasion. Hence the wealth of Southern 
forest growth has offered to standing timber owners, 
engaged in lumber manufacturing, both a problem and 
a temptation: A problem in discovering the uses to 

covery of the uses to which it was best suited; in a 
word, to find Tupelo's proper place in the lumber- 
consuming world. The manufacturers themselves did 
not clearly understand the peculiarities — they might 
be termed vagaries—of Tupelo, and in many instances 
they rendered their product unfit for merchandising 

which a specific species is better adapted than another, 
and the natural human temptation to sell their prod- 
uct *'regardless" and let the buyer, or ultimate con- 
sumer, learn his error if he has made an unwise choice. 
Just such a problem and temptation was presented 
several years ago to the manufacturers of cypress, who 
then were the only lumber operatives confronted with 


by improper piling and drying. Only time and ex- 
liaustive experimentation could correct these errors 
and demonstrate the proper methods of caring for 
Tupelo lumber. 

As the mills which first made these attempts were 
manufacturers of cypress, the whole tendency was to 
follow the same procedure. The results were in most 



the question: "What to do with Tupelo rbotanically 
kno\Mi as nyssa aquatica i and sometimes called Bay 
Poplar"? As the technical name of the species indi- 
cates, it is a growth indigenous to low-lying swampy 
regions and is generally found mterspersed with cy- 
press, though it occurs throughout the coastal regions 
from the Carolinas to Texas, thence up the valley of 

instances unsatisfactory^ and confusing. It was soon 
discovered that* piling and other methods must be 
entirely dissimilar to those employed for cypress, and 
it was then that real progress began to be made. 

These problems having been, in large measure, 
solved next arose the naore vital one of finding a legit- 
imate market for Tupelo. That a policy of selling a 

lumber product for a purpose tor which it is ill adapted, 
putting it where it does not belong, is short-sighted 
and presages the ultimate defeat of the producer's own 
aims, through the consequent failure of his product to 
"make good" and the resulting prejudice against it, 
is too obvious to require emphasis. 

its tendency to decay when exposed to the elements, 
and to warp or buckle when not properly laid, soon 
made it obvious that Tupelo was not a wood well 
suited to permanent outdoor structural purposes, un- 
less treated with a preservative. 

The early product was marketed, or it might be 


Though approaching the problem with the spirit 
of fairness and honesty of purpose which has ever 
characterized the manufacturers of the "Wood Eter- 
nal." and which attitude has won the complete con- 

better to state partially m:irketed. to those consumers 
of wood who could be induced to take a chance with 
it on a single car order but seldom could be talked 
into buying a second car. About everything that could 


fidence of the lumber-consuming and dealing world, 
they, for a period, gropyed in an atmosphere of uncer- 
tainty. The characteristics of Tupelo, then not so 
well known, presented many puzzling and, for a time, 
baffling problems. A wood of unquestioned merits. 

happen to lumber happened to Tupelo, and sometimes 
these things all occurred in one board. Right then 
and there Tltelo got a hard name from which even 
now it has not fully recovered. People who purchased 
stock manufactured in the early days never could be 

made to understand that all Tupelo was not the same 
class of material. This has resulted in ver>' up-hill 
work in making the true merits of the wood under- 
stood, but the past few years have shown rapid prog- 
ress in the education of the public. 

In 'characterizing Tupelo as a 'Versatile wood." no 
stretch of imagination or "poetic license" is indulged 
in. Its texture density and strength make it a wood 
adaptable to perhaps a greater variety of uses, or at 
least uses of a more widely varied character, than any 
other American wood. 


Many woods are today being manufactured into 
flooring and a majority of these make gcxxl floorintj 
But tliere is beginning to 
be some discrimination in 
the selection of woods for 
this purpose, in that there 
is no longer an inclination 
to use, for mstance, other 
than a wood known to re- 
sist decay for a porch, or 
to use the *'\Vood Eter- 
nal" for an interior where 
there will be heavv- wear 
or abrasion. The same 
thing applies to factory 
flooring, in that a vv(x>d 
which easily splinters un- 
der heavy trucking or 
wear is discarded and tha' 
wood selected which has :. 
sufficiently involved grain 
to stand such usage. 

It is only during the 
past few years that the 
Northern buyers have be- 
gun to appreciate Tupelo 
flooring. Since then the 
demand has rapidly 
grown, until it is today an 
important item in the 
lumber trade. It is actu- 
ally the cheapest high- 
class flooring on the mar- 
ket today and it puts up 
an app)earance the equal 

of maple and superior to most woods used for this pur- 
pose. It is a use for Tupelo which is rapidly growing, 
and the time is at hand when it will be universally han- 
dled along with other woods, the low pnce making it 
very attractive. 

For technical reasons Tltelu is decidedh one of 
the best woods to use for flooring purposes. In the 


first place, it is strong and will hold nails with less 
tendency to split in the nailing than many other woods. 
It is. in fact, a very hard wood to split with an axe, 
this being because of what scientists call an "involved" 
grain. This same involved grain makes it a non-split- 
ting wood, and a careful study of it in actual use gives 
one the impression that the wood really becomes denser 
and harder of surface under heavy wear than if sub- 
jected to merely ordinary use. This feature of the 
wood was really discovered at the mills which manu- 
facture both Tupelo and cypress. 

In the South, where Tupelo has been best known, 
iniHinierable handsome modem residences, apartment 
houses, office buildings, banks and depar^nent stores 

are floored with it. The 
beauty and durability of 
these floors has in every 
instance, so far as known, 
made them a joy to their 
owners and users. It 
should, of course, always 
be remembered that Tu- 
pelo flooring must be 
thoroughly dry (as is true 
of any other wood) and 
should be laid with the 
same care as other hard- 
wood floors, scraped or 
sanded and filler applied 
promptly. When this is 
done it will *'stay put"; 
Its texture being such as 
to permit of perfect mill- 
work and hair-line match- 
ing. The long-time stor- 
mg of Tupelo flooring in 
open sheds where the at- 
mospheric condition is hu- 
mid, is not recommended. 


While the use of un- 
treated Tupelo for perma- 
nent outdoor structural 
purposes is not advocated 
by its producers, its excel- 
lence as a flooring material 
for factones. covered docks or warehouses is quite an- 
other matter. The smooth, even surface of Tupelo floor- 
ing, when properly dried and securely laid, under cover, 
the toughness and density of its fiber, its tendency 
to pack under heavy usage, and the complete absence 
of any tendency to splinter or sliver, render it an 
ideal flooring for factory, warehouse or covered dock. 



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appeal to the oriental taste, has been a selling point of 
one of the largest pr>roleum and petroleum products 
companies in this lountry. 

Incidentally, as an evidence of the toughness of 
TuPKLo's fiber and its faculty of holding nails, this 
company uses a corrugated iron joint fastener, and it 
has been conrlusively demonstrated that the point of 
juncture in two pieces of Tupelo thus bound together 
will resist LTcater stress than an average piece of the 
wood of rqual width. 

Thai TiPELO is being used as fruit, vegetable, and 
egg ciating material, as well as for box containers for 
an iniinite variety of manufactured articles, is proven 
by the fact that scores of Tupelo box and crate fac- 
torit's have t:pning up nil over tlie South during the 
past frw years, catering u> tiie RHiuireineiits of the 
fruit growers, truckers and poultry farmers. 


Tupelo has so completely pre-empted this field 
that its exploitation as a cigar box material can be 
carried but little, if any. further. With very few ex- 
ceptions, the cigar box manufacturers of the United 
States and the West Indies use Tupelo wholly, or in 

SI \! rKR. S. C. 

Relative to the use of TiTELO as a butter container. 
\'(m Schrenk & Kammerer. Consulting Timber Engi- 
neers of St. Louis, wrote a Tltelo manufacturer as 

**Vou can say to your people that Tur»ELO lumber 
does not impart any taste or odor to butter. We made 
an extensive investigation and kept butter in 7\'PELO 
boxes in storage for over a year; in fact, some was kept 
for eighteen months, and the best butter experts we 
could find stated there was no depreciation of the 
butter as a result of being packed in Tupelo boxes. 
The boxes were not soaked in water; that is. the butter 
was packed in them dry. Some of the boxes were 
pjaratlined on the inside, but we found this had no 
additional advantage." 

New Orleans Dock Floored with Tupelo Laid 8 Years Afto 

part, for the containers of most of the well-known 
brands of cigars now on the market. In the case of 
most of the higher class brands, a veneer of Spanish 
cedar is used over a Tupelo filler. Practically all of 
the cheaper brands of domestic cigars are put up in 
Tupelo boxes. 

Tupelo is also in general use as a container among 
manufacturers of chewing tobacco. 


The extent to which Tupelo is being put to this 
use is too well known to require emphasis. Its com- 


pact grain and the high degree of finish to which it is 
susceptible has long since brought it into general and 
popular use for this purpose. 


The furniture factories of the United States. Can- 
ada and Europe utilizing Tupelo in the manufacture of 
their pnxiucts are too numerous to [permit of mdivid- 
ual mention, but it is an established fact that many 
million feet of Tupelo are consumed annua' K in ihe 
manufacture of furniture in these countries 


Due to its versatile characteristics heretofore eluci- 
dated, so many and varied are the uses of Tupelo that 
to enumerate them would be quite a feat. 

The need of a wood peculiarly adapted to that pur- 
pose — one possessing great resistance and tenacity of 
grain— has created a demand for Tupelo rollers for 
moving houses, safes, marble slabs, etc. These are 
turned by Tupelo mills in sizes from 4" to 24" in 
diameter, up to 12 feet in length. 

The necessity for finding a wood capable of resist- 
ing powerful impact has brought Tupelo into general 
use in the South as a "follow-up pile" — for driving 
piles beneath the surface of the ground. 

A long search for a suitable wood to be used as 
* 'sewer-pipe balls" — a wood which would not check or 

It will be obvious to anyone that a wood with 
Tupelo's characteristics is the best-suited material 
conceivable for automobile shock or recoil blocks— 
used in shipping automobiles. There is no danger of 
the spikes or nails driven into these blocks pulling out, 
nor will they split. Tupelo is coming into general use 
for this purpose. The blocks can be easily salvaged, 
if desired. 

The manufacturers of the widely-advertised "Never- 
Split" toilet seats are using Tupelo exclusively. Split- 
ting of this article made of most other woods is a com- 
mon defect. The perfection with which Tupelo takes 
and retains enamel is a further recommendation of it 
for this use. 

The toughness and the almost indestructible char- 
acter of Tupelo and its perfect adaptability to paint- 


split— resulted in the adoption of Tupelo These 
balls, with rope attached, are floated in the flushed 
sewer and used for locating obstructions. These balls 
can be turned up to 24" in diameter. 

Many sawmills in the South which have other woods 
in abundance preferentially use Tupelo for "bunks" 
on their logging cars. 

Operators of dredges and hoisting machines have 
found Tupelo the best wood for friction blocks, sev- 
eral having reported that Tupelo has lasted longer for 
that purpose than any other of a variety of woods used. 

Tupelo tackle blocks and pulleys have also proven 
to be among the most lasting and smoothly operating. 

Due to the fact that Tupelo never splinters, slivers 
or splits, and has a toughness of fiber which holds it 
together when nailed, it is coming into general use for 
bobbin boxes, mounted on wheels, in cotton mills. 


ing and enameling, make of it the ideal wood for toys. 

Tupelo has also proven highly satisfactory for bar- 
rel heads, bobbins, shuttles, chairs, clocks, coat hang- 
ers, conveyors, mop and broom handles, ironing boards, 
kitchen tables, picture frames and moulding, shade 
and map rollers, rolling pins, shuttles, spools, sewing 
machines, and ox yokes. 

Tupelo is a species of wood: it grows in the South. 
It also grows in the esteem of those who floor their 
buildings with it and otherwise use it for its best adapt- 
abilities. Tupelo lumber used to be anonymous— it 
was grouped under the heading "other woods." That 
was before some of the thriftiest manufacturers in Eu- 
rope and in this country learned what Tupelo was 
worth to them. Let us tell you what it is worth to 
YOU. Correspondence is invited and will be promptly 



Southern Cypress Manufacturers' 


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